Corporate Social Responsibility – Our Stories - Prudential

My Brother’s Keeper AllianceOpenClose
Prudential amplifies its support of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative

Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and President of the Prudential Foundation Lata Reddy, right, and Newark Central High School senior Taj Atkinson. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Prudential)

Prudential has reaffirmed its support for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative and the newly formed My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA), a nonprofit organization that will help build and strengthen local community supports to improve the life outcomes for boys and young men of color. President Obama announced the MBKA at an event in Bronx, NY on May 4, 2015.

Building on Prudential’s earlier commitment announced at the White House in February, Lori Dickerson Fouché, CEO of Prudential Group Insurance, will represent the company on the MBKA board.

Joe Echevarria, who will serve as the interim Executive Director of MBKA, said, “Prudential continues to be a significant corporate partner for MBK, and we’re excited to have Lori on the board. Their business expertise and commitment to supporting underserved communities has been a valuable resource for MBK and we look forward to their continued partnership.”

Lata Reddy, right, takes part in a panel discussion with, from left, Joe Echevarria, Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, Shawn Dove, Dalila Wilson-Scott, and Patrick McCarthy at the My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge National Convening. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Prudential)

MBKA will convene community organizations across multiple sectors to help create better life outcomes for boys and young men of color. The organization will work to forge partnerships, cement new funding commitments, collect data, and offer technical assistance for participating communities.

“Communities across the country are making tremendous efforts to close the opportunity gap and break down systemic barriers that prevent boys and young men of color from reaching their full potential,” said Lata Reddy, Prudential’s vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Our investments will help build on this work to create opportunities for these young people to achieve financial and social mobility.”

Prudential’s anchor commitment includes a $3 million grant to help establish the MBKA and provide technical assistance to the cities, municipalities and tribal nations leading the effort. The funds will support communities in building the necessary supports to improve the lives of boys and young men of color.

As one of MBK’s anchor corporate partners Prudential has committed a total of $13 million in grants and impact investments to this work. The impact investments will focus on three areas:

  • Next generation manufacturing facilities in traditional urban centers and other areas where there are large populations of boys and young men of color.
  • Opportunities for entrepreneurship and access to capital for minority communities, by investing in firms that are focused on communities of color, as well as supporting minority banks and other financial institutions.
  • Innovative education and training programs that help boys and young men of color build the skills they need to obtain quality jobs.

“I’m looking forward to representing Prudential on the board of MBKA,” said Lori Dickerson Fouché, CEO of Prudential Group Insurance. “As a company, we’re committed to helping all people build brighter financial futures, and I can’t think of a better way to extend the impact of our business for social good than by addressing the critical issues facing boys and young men of color.”


Impact Investments OpenClose
Prudential committed to building a $1 billion impact investment portfolio by 2020

During an event at the White House on June 25, 2014, Prudential committed to building a $1 billion impact investment portfolio by 2020.  As a private sector institution, Prudential is committed to working with other private, public and nonprofit sector leaders to collaborate in pursuit of creating enduring solutions to the pressing social challenges of today and tomorrow.

Prudential has never been afraid to innovate to help those in need. As early as the 1930s, the company made investments to support organizations and initiatives that provided a community benefit. In the 1970s, disparate investments that shared a common thread of community revitalization were combined into a dedicated portfolio with the specific aim of creating positive social impact.  Just four decades later, driven solely by the desire to do the right thing, Prudential has made nearly $2 billion dollars in impact investments to address the needs of underserved individuals and communities.

Prudential’s approach to impact investments follows a specific strategy:

  • Each investment will create a positive, measurable social impact on a pressing social challenge.  This is a higher standard than simply screening out certain investments.   
  • The portfolio will constantly evolve to tackle emerging social challenges that often begin as uncharted territory for traditional capital markets.
  • The investor will be exposed to both the upside and the downside for the life of the investment.

In the 21st century, impact investing has attracted a strong following, especially as individuals from millennials to high net worth individuals begin to question how to best invest their time and their resources.  Even as the industry grows, the demand for sustainable, effective solutions to social challenges far outweighs the supply of available capital that can be brought to bear.  So long as this mismatch exists, we believe that institutions such as Prudential have the continued responsibility to respond to this call to action.

 

Learn more about the White House’s commitment to Impact Investing

Learn more about Impact Investments at Prudential


Meeting Basic NeedsOpenClose
Investing in Affordable Housing: Housing Partnership Equity Trust

Across the country, rising rent combined with stagnant salaries has placed even greater pressure on a shrinking supply of affordable rental housing. Mission-driven nonprofit housing developers are working to acquire and preserve affordable units, but they have struggled to compete with for-profit developers looking to reposition properties and increase rents.

In partnership with other private and philanthropic capital providers, Prudential invested $17 million to help launch the Housing Partnership Equity Trust, the first real estate investment trust (REIT) owned and operated by nonprofits. The Equity Trust is an impact investment vehicle that produces triple bottom line returns: generating a risk-appropriate return to investors; producing tangible mission impact; and reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. The REIT represents a groundbreaking and sustainable approach, bringing private capital to help address the growing need for affordable housing.

The Equity Trust was sponsored by the Housing Partnership Network (HPN), a business collaborative of housing and community development nonprofit organizations, and 12 of HPN’s members who are among the nation’s leading nonprofit housing developers. These 12 members currently operate more than 65,000 apartments with an asset value of over $3 billion.

In its first year of operation, the Housing Partnership Equity Trust deployed more than 40 percent of its capital to acquire and preserve quality, affordable rental homes for individuals and families with low and moderate incomes in Illinois, California and Virginia. Based on its success to date, the REIT anticipates growing its portfolio, entering new markets and raising additional capital to expand its mission.


Connecting People to Quality Jobs OpenClose
Bringing quality jobs to distressed communities: Aseptia

The town of Troy, NC, is a former hub for the textile industry that experienced the displacement of businesses and jobs in recent decades causing unemployment to grow to 13 percent. Today it is resurging with a next generation manufacturing firm.

Aseptia takes state-of-the-art technology developed at North Carolina State University to create shelf stable foods that are tastier, healthier and more environmentally-friendly than previous canning methods. The company has attracted customers that make up the biggest names in food and is rapidly expanding its facilities in order to keep up with demand.

Aseptia chose Troy to build out its first food processing facility in 2011. It quickly grew out of the space and began an addition that would double the facility's size. With plans of adding more food processing lines, Aseptia raised $28 million in equity, of which Prudential invested $3 million.

Today, Aseptia employs 150 area residents. These employees earn competitive hourly wages – in many cases, nearly twice the average wage in the county – and receive strong benefit packages. Additionally, to meet the company’s growth plans, the local community college is now training students on specific operations to sustain the pipeline of skilled laborers for the plant.

Aseptia is a great example of a high growth company that is re-energizing an economically distressed area with the contributions of multiple stakeholders – university, entrepreneurs, employees, customers, government programs, support services and investors.


Building AssetsOpenClose
Meeting the financial needs of America’s diverse communities: National Council of La Raza

As Latinos make up a growing percentage of the U.S. population, their socio-economic status and experience has the potential to significantly shape the long-term outlook of the nation as a whole.

In 2014, Prudential conducted a study on The Hispanic American Financial Experience, which found that Hispanics are moderately confident in the future outlook for their household finances, but are unprepared for long-term financial security. More than one-third of the individuals surveyed indicated that they are “neither a saver nor an investor” as they manage more immediate expenses rather than focusing on retirement.

The study informed a Prudential Foundation grant to the National Council of La Raza’s Wealth-Building Policy Project, which helps Latino families preserve and increase their wealth through tangible assets. The grant will build upon NCLR research to-date and shed light on how Latinos might engage, utilize and participate in retirement savings based on the features of key products, the incentives afforded to them and the delivery channel of those products. Insights gained from the NCLR study will help improve retirement policies and products to better meet Hispanics’ needs and expectations.


Transforming CommunitiesOpenClose
Creating vibrant communities: Hahne’s Building Redevelopment

Built in 1911 and designed by famed retail architect Goldwin Starrett, the Hahne’s building is one of the most iconic structures in Newark, NJ. At its opening, it was celebrated as one of the largest and most elegant department stores in America. But as Newark’s economy declined in the 1960s, so did its reputation as a premier shopping destination. The store shuttered in 1987 and Hahne’s corporate offices relocated. For nearly 30 years, the building was left idle and degrading
– a visible reminder of the city’s decline.

For decades many people considered the rehabilitation of the Hahne’s building to be essential to the revitalization of Newark, but the scope of the project was a major barrier to redevelopment. The project is now underway thanks to $7.5 million in acquisition financing provided by Prudential. When complete, the renovated building will host approximately 200 residential apartments and 80,000 square feet of retail and community space anchored by Whole Foods.

Prudential’s support of the Hahne’s project is just one example of the leadership role the company has played in transforming downtown Newark into a vibrant urban center. Prudential was an early advocate for the development of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Prudential Center. Other catalytic investments Prudential has helped finance include Teachers Village, a mixed use educational, residential and retail development project, Courtyard Marriott and Hotel Indigo. The Prudential Foundation has also played a pivotal role in creating and sustaining vital community assets, including the revitalization of Military Park and Newark Riverfront Park.